You can enjoy a taste of Israel both before and after your trip with recipes from Israel Celebration Tours.
Today’s recipe is Bourekas. Bourekas are delicious Middle Eastern pastries filled with potatoes, mushrooms, cheese, or meat. You will find these stuffed pastries in Israel and throughout the Middle East. They may have originated in Turkey, or been brought by Sephardi Jews from Spain. In fact, you’ll find stuffed pastries the world over, though they are known by different names and have regional variations: empanadas, knishes, calzones, samosas, bridies, pirogi, momos, and strudel. Here is a recipe for the Middle Eastern version:
Mushroom and Potato Bourekas
(Approximately 45 minutes)
- Potatoes: 5-6 medium red potatoes, boiled or microwaved until just tender OR 4-5 large Russet or baking potatoes
- 1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped finely
- 16 ounces of mushrooms brushed clean and thinly sliced and chopped: Portobello OR white mushrooms
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Additional 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1-pound puff pastry sheets (for example, 1 box of Pepperidge Farms puff pastry sheets); if frozen, allow 20 minutes for dough to defrost
- 1 egg, beaten
- Water to paste seams of dough together
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- Parchment paper
- Heat oil in large pan to medium and cook until translucent to brown. The longer they cook, the more caramelized they will become. Midway through cooking onions, add minced garlic to pan.
- Add mushrooms to pan and cook the mix for an additional 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.
- Remove onions, garlic and mushroom to a small dish and allow to cool a bit.
- While the onions are cooking, put potatoes in microwave and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes or so. Alternatively, place the potatoes in a saucepan or stockpot with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes, then drain. For either method, allow potatoes to cool.
- Mash the potatoes, add additional 2 Tablespoons of olive oil; add seasoning to taste: salt, pepper, paprika.
- Add the onions/garlic/mushrooms to the potatoes and mix together. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.
- Place parchment paper onto a large baking sheet or pan.
- Roll the de-frosted dough to flatten, then cut into 4-inch squares.
- Fill the center of each square with about 1 Tablespoon of filling mixture and brush a small amount of water along the pastry edges to help paste seams of dough together.
- Fold the dough from one corner to the opposite corner forming a triangle. Using your fingertips, crimp the sides that are open. Place closed bourekas on parchment covered pan.
- Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake at 375° Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately or cool, refrigerate.
- When cool, these can be frozen. Be sure to wrap them well, either loosely in freezer bags, or closely packed in one layer enclosed in foil. Once defrosted, they should be warmed in a 350° oven until crispy.
Some people enjoy adding other ingredients to their filling – such as spinach or peppers, or other middle eastern spices – such as za’atar or turmeric. They may shape their bourekas into circles or squares. It’s all delicious!